Ramit learns to dance

Ramit Sethi

Confession: In high school, realizing I was an awkward guy, I asked my friend Christina to teach me how to dance. She took pity on me, put on some Blackstreet, and showed me how to dance one-on-one in her room. I don’t know how girls learn to dance, but guys aren’t magically born with the ability to grind.

I bring this up because yesterday, I wrote about the myth of simply following your passion. If Christina loved dancing, could she turn that into something more than just a random interest?

Some passions will never be more than a pet interest — for example, nobody would ever buy my dream course, 60 Days to Habanero. Please stop emailing me to tell me you’d buy it, then revealing you actually never pay for books and instead get them from the library. You are not a customwer.

On the other hand, a lot of you sent me your list of passions. Things like:

  • “Teaching Junior soccer have been doing this for 7 years volunteer” (Liam)
  • “Horses and animals” (Sally)
  • “My biggest passion is making house music and I get a kick out of making things easier and understandable, not going by the book. Not sure if that’s a passion tho. (Dennis)

The good news is each of these people could turn their passion into something much bigger — even a 6-figure business if they wanted to.

If you have vague passions like “Good at communication” or “Interested in relationships,” you can actually turn that into something much more useful and helpful to the world. And if you want to generate a profit from what you already know, you can do that.

Look at this example of passion to profit

Let’s take a random passion: dancing.

Remember how I told you that I asked my high-school friend Christina to teach me how to dance? It was just something she was interested in. But can you turn a weird random talent like that into a business?

Meet IWT reader Ben, a circus performer (yes, really) who was making minimum wage. I flew him into my studio to share his story.

Ben liked his job, but he also happened to be a pretty good dancer. What do you do with that? For most people, it just remains a hobby, a random interest, while they pine away wondering what to do with their “passion.”

He stopped and applied IWT principles to turn his passion into something more. We showed him how to take skills he already had, amplify them, and convert them to profit.

The result:



To speaking at a TED event:

He even got me to dance in a public dance-off:


Best of all, this is what Ben loves to do. He turned one of his passions into an income stream that paid up to $275/hour.

What you can apply from Ben’s story

Ben did lots of things differently from most people, who wait for their passion to fall from the sky. These choices are a good model for figuring out how to get paid to do what you love.

  1. He didn’t quit his job to chase a dream of dancing on Broadway. He kept his day job, started slow, and tested his idea out.
  2. He didn’t say “But I need credentials! I can’t teach dance unless I go to Juilliard!” He just learned enough to help guys who wanted/needed help — and were willing to pay.
  3. He made his business about other people. If you listen to him tell his story, his first idea to teach acrobatics bombed. But once he made his business less about him and more about other people’s problems, he started getting clients all over the country.
  4. He didn’t wait for an idea to come to him — he learned how to find one. Ben didn’t sit around and hope a great idea would just fall from the sky. He followed a proven, step-by-step system to find an idea and get paid to do what he loved. (See more examples of successful students.)

That’s a key difference between average people and top performers. Most people wait around for “inspiration,” but inspiration is for amateurs. Top performers don’t rely on it. They look for proven steps to overcome whatever is holding them back.

Over the years, we’ve created a system that shows you step-by-step how to earn money doing work you love. It’s the system Ben followed. It’s the system Julia (the caricature artist we talked about yesterday) used to go from $8/hour to 6 figures a year.

Next Tuesday, 8/25, I’m going to teach you how this works.

It doesn’t matter if you have no idea, no “marketable skills,” and know nothing about business. You’ll learn how to use skills you already have to find a profitable idea and start earning an extra $1,000/month (or more) on the side.


P.S. Remember what I said about the Year of More: You have permission to want more. Let other people worry about cutting back on everything. We’ll focus on expanding the pie and unapologetically going after what we want.

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